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Durée’s Deets: The Top 13 Parks, Hikes and Trails in Aspen

By August 28, 2023August 29th, 2023No Comments

As we celebrate the beauty, culture and outdoor summer activities that Aspen, Colorado is known for, I am proud to share some of my favorite hikes and parks throughout this mountain haven. Read more for the deets… Durée’s Deets!

For over two decades, I have been privileged to call Aspen my second home. Our Aspen office, located inside the Alpine Bank Building at 600 East Hopkins Avenue, has enabled us to understand and appreciate the Aspen lifestyle. Here are my top hikes and parks in Aspen that perfectly capture Colorado’s spirit of adventure. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a seasoned hiker, or someone who simply loves immersing themselves in natural beauty, there is a trail or park waiting to welcome you in Aspen.

  1. Aspen Mountain

Best views in town! Aspen Mountain is a favorite amongst hikers and adventurers alike. The mountain offers various trails that wind through stunning aspen groves and mountainous terrain, rewarding hikers with breathtaking views of Aspen and the Elk Mountains. While there are several trails to choose from, I like the nearly 5-mile Aspen Mountain Trail.

Pro tip: After a rewarding hike to the top, you can take the gondola down for free – a fun and effortless way to recover from the hike up and enjoy the stunning mountain views. Be sure to treat yourself to the delicious food available at the Sundeck Restaurant at the top of the mountain. During the summer, the mountain comes alive with live music on weekends!

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  1. Ute Trail

Be-Ute-iful Trail! If you are looking for a challenge and a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of Colorado’s wilderness, the Ute Trail is a must. A steep hike, it offers panoramic views of Aspen and the surrounding mountains that are well worth the effort. Be prepared for a strenuous uphill trek with switchbacks and rocky terrain, but the reward at the top is genuinely breathtaking.

Pro tip: This hike is a challenging one! Pack proper shoes and hiking sticks and make sure to take your time and do this one safely. Also, for the ambitious: you can continue on Ute all the way up to Aspen Mountain. That’s right, one trail that starts in the heart of Aspen and takes you to the top of Aspen Mountain! But be prepared, it’s a strenuous uphill trek.

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  1. Ajax Trail

Pack your pup! Begin your outdoor exploration at Koch Park with the easy-going Ajax Trail. Stretching 1.5 miles, this dog-friendly trail, nestled under a canopy of trees, is perfect for a leisurely hike. After enjoying the tranquil trail, make a pit stop at Ajax Tavern. Here, you can replenish with refreshing drinks and appetizers, all while soaking in splendid views of Aspen Mountain. It’s the perfect combination of outdoor fun and relaxed indulgence, characteristic of the Aspen lifestyle.

Pro tip: Although the trail offers some shade, don’t forget your sunscreen and a small bottle of water will keep you hydrated.

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  1. Wagner Park

The center of it all! Nestled in the heart of Aspen, Wagner Park is an urban oasis for locals and visitors alike. This bustling park is perfect for picnics, people-watching, or simply taking a breather amidst your Aspen adventures. Wagner Park also hosts several town events, including the popular Aspen Food & Wine Classic, adding a community vibe to its charm.

Pro tip: Pack a picnic and enjoy the surroundings. For younger explorers, visit the “Tooth” in Wagner Park. This giant play sculpture, affectionately nicknamed after its distinctive shape, offers a unique playground experience that sparks creativity for little ones that I brought my children to when they were much younger.

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  1. Smuggler Mountain

Aspen’s backyard! Smuggler Mountain is a favorite destination for both locals and visitors. Conveniently accessible from the East and West sides of town, this moderately challenging trail offers a fantastic way to kick off your day in Aspen. Smuggler Mountain is not just a hiking destination, but it’s filled with rich history. As you go up the mountain, the remnants of the old Smuggler Mine emerge, a testament to Aspen’s silver mining past. Today’s adventurers can still explore this once bustling mine, guided through its cool tunnels by experts recounting tales of past miners. Whether you’re after some exercise, a trip down memory lane or just seeking a spectacular view, Smuggler Mountain promises an unforgettable hiking experience right in the heart of Aspen.

Pro tip: Make sure to pause at the lookout spot – it provides an incredible view of Aspen Mountain that you won’t want to miss.

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  1. Maroon Bells

A must-see! Just a short drive from Aspen, the Maroon Bells are a must-visit. Known as the most photographed peaks in North America, the Maroon Bells offer several hiking trails for all levels of ability. The Maroon Lake Scenic Trail is an easy 1-mile roundtrip path that provides jaw-dropping views of the twin peaks reflecting on Maroon Lake. For those looking for an alternative way to reach the Bells, consider renting an e-bike and riding up Maroon Creek. It’s an exhilarating experience that combines exercise with impeccable mountain views.

Pro tip: If you prefer to skip the hike and still want to take in the awe-inspiring scenery, make sure to check the shuttle schedule. The convenient shuttle service offers easy access to the Maroon Bells, making it possible for everyone to enjoy this iconic Colorado landmark.

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  1. Hunter Creek Trail

A True Hidden Gem! Hunter Creek Trail starts in Aspen and takes hikers through a beautiful valley, flanked by aspen trees and views of the surrounding mountains. It’s perfect for those seeking solitude and serenity amidst the bustling resort town.

Pro tip: Start your hike early in the morning. Not only will you beat the midday heat, but you’ll also enjoy the tranquility of the trail before it gets busier.

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  1. John Denver Sanctuary

Rocky Mountain High! No visit to Aspen would be complete without a stop at the John Denver Sanctuary. This peaceful park, located near the Roaring Fork River, is a tribute to the legendary singer-songwriter who made Aspen his home. You’ll find beautifully etched boulders inscribed with lyrics from Denver’s most loved songs, creating a serene setting that harmoniously merges art, music, and nature. Whether you’re a fan of John Denver’s music or simply seeking a tranquil escape, the John Denver Sanctuary encapsulates the spirit of Aspen and is a fitting tribute to Colorado’s natural beauty.

Pro tip: Pack a picnic and settle down by the perennial flower garden for lunch.

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  1. The Grottos

Chasing waterfalls! For a unique outdoor adventure, head towards Independence Pass on Highway 82 to visit the Grottos. These fascinating geological formations, including caves and sculpted rock pools, provide a distinctive exploration experience in Aspen. Accessible via a short and easy hike after parking, it’s the perfect spot for all ages. While the Grottos can’t be reached by foot from Aspen, the drive is an adventure itself, offering some of Colorado’s most breathtaking mountain and meadow views.

Pro tip: To get the most out of your Grottos experience, make sure to wear sturdy footwear as the rocks can be slippery.

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  1. Woody Creek Trail

Calling all nature lovers! For a serene escape in nature, look no further than the Woody Creek Trail. Stretching over 9.7 miles to Lenado, CO, this mostly flat trail is perfect for a leisurely walk, a brisk run or a bike ride. The path winds through sweeping ranch pastures, past red rock hills, and along the Roaring Fork river, offering magnificent views at every turn. It’s a more peaceful and quieter trail, ideal for those seeking tranquility and a slower pace.

Pro tip: Consider bringing your earbuds along too – the calming ambiance of the Woody Creek Trail makes it the perfect backdrop for your favorite podcast or playlist.

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  1. Rio Grande Trail

Adjacent to Rio Grande Park is the Rio Grande Trail, a popular path for bikers and hikers. This trail offers a scenic and enjoyable ride all the way to the iconic Woody Creek Tavern, an excellent spot for a well-earned meal. For the adventurous, the trail continues all the way to Glenwood Springs, allowing bikers to extend their journey.

Pro tip: If you’re up for a longer ride, consider biking the entire trail to Glenwood Springs for a comprehensive experience of the region’s natural beauty.

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  1. Grindlay Bridge

Fancy a fun photo op in Aspen? Head over to Grindlay Bridge! This cool, old-school wooden bridge is just the spot for a great group selfie or a fun solo action shot. We love a good boomerang at Durée & Company and this is a perfect spot. Whether you’re snapping a photo or simply soaking in the scenery, the Grindlay Bridge is a charming spot that truly captures the tranquility of Aspen.

Pro tip: Look out for a fly fisher or some kayakers in the water to add some action to your background photos, as they’re known to frequent the waters beneath the bridge.

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  1. Music Tent Trail

Last but not least on my list is the charming Music Tent Trail. This scenic path is perfect for those who want to take in a leisurely walk or a refreshing bike ride while enjoying the picturesque Aspen landscape. Filled with an array of wildflowers that bloom every season, the trail bursts with color, creating a truly unforgettable outdoor experience. Whether on foot or on wheels, the Music Tent Trail is a spot I stumbled upon many years ago and I am sure to take everyone who visits!

Pro tip: Pack your camera! This stop is full of gorgeous wildflowers that bloom in August – you won’t want to miss. Check the Aspen Music Festival schedule and you can pack a picnic and listen to the music outside for free.

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Durée & Company has long embraced Aspen’s beauty and the active lifestyle it promotes. Our deep understanding of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley’s lifestyle has been instrumental in developing strategic public relations initiatives for our clients, and we are always excited to share this love for Aspen and Colorado with others. Not to mention, I do my best thinking in Aspen, it must be all the fresh air and beauty surrounding me!

There’s no better way to celebrate this beautiful town in Aspen than by immersing yourself in its outdoor beauty! Durée & Company’s Aspen office is located in the beautiful Alpine Bank Building, 600 East Hopkins Avenue, Suite 203, Aspen, 81611. Call our Aspen office at 970.452.2195, our Fort Lauderdale office at 954.723.9350, or email us at


About Durée & Company, Inc.

Founded in 1999, Durée & Company is a full-service, well-respected and highly creative public relations and marketing agency serving a diverse client base of local, national and international consumer brands, landmark industries, business leaders and philanthropists from its offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Aspen, Colorado. Practice areas include real estate, nonprofit, hospitality, business, lifestyle, health and wellness, legal, yacht and marine as well as cannabis, psychedelics, and other emerging industries. Durée & Company is a member of some of the nation’s most elite professional organizations including PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI). To learn more, call 954-723-9350; go to;; or Join the social conversation and follow Durée & Company on Facebook, Instagram, TwitterYouTube and LinkedIn at @DureeCoPR.


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